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Raul Herrera challenged a district court’s partial denial of his Idaho Criminal Rule 35 motion for correction or reduction of sentence. Following his conviction for first-degree murder, among other charges, Herrera was sentenced to an indeterminate term of life with thirty-five years fixed. Herrera argued his sentence was illegal because the fixed term was greater than the duration authorized by Idaho Code section 18-4004, the statute governing punishment for murder. The district court rejected this argument and denied Herrera’s motion as to that part, but the motion was granted in part due to an illegal sentence for Herrera’s separate conviction for second-degree kidnapping. After a hearing was held to correct the kidnapping sentence, the district court entered an amended judgment, from which Herrera appealed. Finding no reversible error in the district court's sentence, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision. View "Idaho v. Herrera" on Justia Law

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This appeal centered the interpretation of Idaho Code section 37-2732: the State charged Daniel Amstad with violating section 37-2732 for “being present at or on premises of any place where he knows illegal controlled substances are being manufactured or cultivated, or are being held . . . .” Amstad moved to dismiss on the basis that he was in a vehicle, so his conduct did not fall within the statute. The magistrate court granted the motion and dismissed the case. The State appealed and the district court affirmed, holding that “premises” and “place” under section 37-2732 did not include a parked vehicle. The Idaho Supreme Court disagreed with the magistrate and district courts, holding that "a person does not leave a location simply by entering a parked vehicle." As such, the Court reversed and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Idaho v. Amstad" on Justia Law

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Dillon Gibson was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. His mother, Judy Luis, posted a cash deposit and a property bond that collectively enabled Gibson’s release on bail. After he pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter, but before sentencing, Gibson was alleged to have violated his conditions of release. He was arrested on a bench warrant, remanded to custody, and informed by the district court that additional bail would be required and that the previous bail amount would not be forfeited. Following sentencing, Luis moved for release of the cash deposit, asserting that it should have been exonerated when Gibson was remanded to custody. The district court denied the motion and directed the clerk of the court to apply the cash deposit against Gibson’s fine, costs, and restitution obligations. Luis timely appealed. The Idaho Supreme Court concurred the cash deposit should have been exonerated when Gibson's bail was revoked and he was remitted to custody. Accordingly, the Court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Idaho v. Gibson" on Justia Law

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Sonny Rome sought post-conviction relief. In March 2016, Rome moved for post-conviction relief from his aiding and abetting a burglary conviction, claiming counsel was ineffective under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). In support of post-conviction relief, he challenged counsel’s performance at both the trial and direct-appeal phases. The district court held a one-day trial on Rome’s post-conviction petition. At the trial, after Rome presented his case in chief, the State moved for a directed verdict. The district court granted the State’s motion. In this appeal, Rome argued the district court erred by: (1) not taking judicial notice of certain items at the post-conviction phase, and (2) concluding trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to request a certain jury instruction. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Rome v. Idaho" on Justia Law

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Val Westover filed this action seeking a declaration that the existence of the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program (ICRMP) violated Idaho law. This litigation followed an earlier dispute between Westover and Jase Cundick, the Franklin County, Idaho Assessor. That dispute came before the Idaho Supreme Court in which Westover advanced claims for slander of title and intentional interference with existing or potential economic relations and sought writs of mandate and prohibition. After Westover voluntarily dismissed the slander of title and tortious interference claims, the district court denied his requests for extraordinary writs and dismissed the action. Westover appealed and the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court and declined to award attorney fees to either party. Westover then brought this action, seeking a declaration that ICRMP’s existence and relationship with county governments violates the directive in Idaho Code section 12-117(3) that attorney fees awarded against a state agency or political subdivision “shall be paid from funds in the regular operating budget . . . .” ICRMP moved for summary judgment, contending that Westover lacked standing to pursue his claim. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of Westover’s declaratory judgment action. View "Westover v. Idaho Counties Risk Mgmt" on Justia Law

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Steven Moore appealed a district court’s decision denying his motion to suppress his identification by an eyewitness. The district court found that law enforcement had engaged in a suggestive identification procedure but concluded that the identification was nonetheless reliable under the five-factor reliability test first articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Neil v. Biggers, 409 U.S. 188 (1972). Moore argued before the Idaho Supreme Court that the district court should have suppressed the identification because the district court’s findings regarding several of the reliability factors were not supported by substantial and competent evidence. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Idaho v. Moore" on Justia Law

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Dale and Kathi Lee appealed a district court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of Willow Creek Ranch Estates No. 2 Subdivision Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (the HOA). The dispute between the Lees and the HOA centered on a 1997 agreement that purportedly granted the Lees three access points to a private road owned by the HOA. The Lees conceded in the district court that the Agreement alone did not create an enforceable easement. The Lees asserted, however, that an easement existed based on the doctrine of part performance or that an enforceable encumbrance existed through the doctrine of equitable servitudes. The district court determined that neither the doctrine of part performance nor the doctrine of equitable servitudes were applicable to this case and granted the HOA’s motion for summary judgment. Finding no error in the district court judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Lee v. Willow Creek Ranch Est." on Justia Law

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Jane Doe (Doe) appealed a magistrate court order in which protective custody of Doe’s three nieces and three nephews was awarded to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (Department). Following an adjudicatory hearing, the magistrate court found the children fell within the jurisdiction of the Child Protective Act (CPA) based on neglect, homelessness, and an unstable home environment. Doe stipulated during the hearing that it was in the best interests of the children to vest their custody with the Department. Doe appealed, alleging that the judge erred in concluding the children were neglected and that the Department made reasonable efforts to prevent removal. Doe also contended her right to due process was violated because she was unable to conduct substantive discovery. Based on the reasons set out in this opinion, the Supreme Court concluded there was no justiciable controversy presented. As a result, the Court dismissed Doe’s appeal because the issues raised were moot. View "Idaho v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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Thomas Lanham appealed the dismissal of his legal malpractice action against his former attorney, Douglas Fleenor. Fleenor represented Thomas in a will contest regarding Thomas’s father. After the magistrate court ruled against Lanham at the summary judgment stage, Fleenor filed an untimely appeal, which was rejected on that basis. Because the appeal brought by Fleenor was untimely, Lanham brought a legal malpractice action against Fleenor in district court, alleging that the failure to timely appeal the magistrate’s ruling proximately caused him financial loss because he had a meritorious appeal that he never got to pursue due to Fleenor’s negligence. The district court dismissed Lanham’s legal malpractice claim, reasoning that a timely appeal by Fleenor would have been unsuccessful on the merits; hence, Lanham did not suffer any injury as a result of Fleenor’s alleged malpractice. Lanham argued on appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court that the interpretation of the will, in which the deceased attempted to disinherit Lanham, did not properly dispose of all of the estate because it did not contain a residuary clause. Lanham argued these failures should have resulted in various assets passing to him through intestate succession. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Lanham’s malpractice case. View "Lanham v. Fleenor" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of a failed golf course development project known as “The Idaho Club” undertaken by Pend Oreille Bonner Development, LLC (“POBD”). POBD took out several loans to finance the development of The Idaho Club and subsequently defaulted on them, failed to pay mechanics and materialmen for their services, and failed to pay real property taxes. During this litigation, three lending companies, R.E. Loans, LLC, Pensco Trust Co. and Mortgage Fund ’08 assigned and/or sold all of their right, title, and interest in their three loans with POBD to Valiant Idaho, LLC (“Valiant”). The loans were secured by three mortgages that provided parcels of The Idaho Club as collateral. VP, Inc. had an interest in certain lots containing water and sewer infrastructure (the lagoon lots and the well lots) and it held utility easements for the same. VP obtained its interest in The Idaho Club from quitclaim deeds to four parcels and an alleged equitable servitude and prescriptive easements. The Idaho Supreme Court determined VP did not err in granting partial summary judgment against VP as to its liens' priority, nor did it err as to Valiant's third motion for summary judgment or in granting Valiant's temporary restraining order and injunction. The Court determined VP waived its right to challenge a second decree of foreclosure on appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court except as to the issue of discretionary costs, which was vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Valiant Idaho v. VP Inc." on Justia Law